Earlier this year, we traveled as a family of four to St. Lucia to visit family and to get married (more on that later). It was the first time all of us had flown together (we had flown with children before, just in separate trips). With the ages of the boys (22 months and 6) we were for sure in for an adventure but one that winter travel, airlines, and delays made an even bigger ordeal!
We were scheduled to leave at 1am to make a connecting flight in Toronto for 9am that morning. However, with the poor weather in Canada and the busy Christmas season, we experienced one of the more trying travel experiences.
It was just after Christmas and there was a storm on the east coast which knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and disrupted air travel. We had a red-eye booked to Toronto as there is only one AC flight a day from Toronto to St. Lucia. And while there is never an ideal time for delays, after waiting years for this trip and being on our way to get married and see family, this was definitely less than welcomed news. As luck would have it, we were delayed by more than three hours. Being with two very young children, I was already nervous about what a red-eye flight would be like with a toddler but I definitely didn’t anticipate being stranded in an airport in the wee hours of the morning with nothing to do.
At about 3am… I think (it really may have been earlier than that but it felt like an eternity) we finally made it aboard the first flight!
When we arrived in Toronto we were greeted by AC staff who in a flurry of upset passengers, gave us the total wrong information. By the time we had landed, our flight to St. Lucia hadn’t left yet but we were cutting it very close and they told us that we would have to stand in a line to re-book… well, they told us the wrong line so we wasted even more time. Finally, we were put up in the Westin Airport and rebooked on the flight out the next day… but funny story, we had NO luggage for our little overnight excursion – and while I am not the most seasoned traveller, I have been on my fair share of airplanes, delayed flights, and have lost luggage numerous times (mostly between Calgary and Halifax). However, something I didn’t consider, especially when I was so engrossed in ensuring that the children had everything that they would need to be entertained (food, clothes, toys, etc.) I didn’t even think to bring a spare change of clothes in my carry-on… note to self, I am doing that every time I fly now. All that aside, for the circumstances I think we were fairly well taken care of – I mean, the weather is out of AC’s control, however, they definitely need to increase the value of their meal vouchers if they insist on putting stranded passengers up at the Westin airport. $45 dollars for a family of four for dinner just doesn’t cut it there!
So, after this whole ordeal and basically fighting for a seat on a small shuttle bus, we made it back to the airport only to be delayed again. After nearly two days, we finally made it to our destination! I will outline more about our fun trip in other posts but for what we dealt with, I did want to touch on some things that I found interesting or useful, especially for children, while being stranded or delayed.
First, this stroller! It was an impulse buy in an Amazon Black Friday Sale but, I have to say I think the 60 bucks I saved and the use we got out of it made it pay for itself. I think everyone and their uncle has this stroller, and for good reason! It’s lightweight, easy to fold, has good sun coverage, and is at a really great price point. I find it even maneuvers pretty well – better than my Bugaboo even! The only draw-back is the basket is a little small but it still holds a fair amount of stuff. I also really like, as pictured above, that it is really easy to fully recline the seat so when your little ones doze off, they are super comfy. G had some great naps in it!
Food was the next thing that I was so happy I packed a TON OF! Snacks keep these boys happy and the healthy options from NaturaMarket were a big hit, especially while walking back and forth and running on the moving sidewalk (hours of fun) so I am thankful for that too (sorta). But, in all seriousness, we went through the snacks fast because of the major delay and nothing is open in the airport at that time. I would definitely pack more next time, just in case!
We had downloaded some tv shows for the boys on our tablet and while we definitely used it as a last resort, the Netflix app definitely came in super handy. Paw Patrol to the rescue! I definitely “yelped for help!”
I may not have had a change of clothes for myself but I did pack a change of clothes for each of the boys, which was nice for them… they were fresh while I was exhausted and stinky but, it’s all in the story, right!?
Another thing that was really helpful was to have a variety of toys, especially some that they hadn’t seen in a while. Also, doubles of each thing to avoid fighting (we two cars, etc.), and while I tried to keep the toys at a minimum because the boys were each allowed a carry-on item, we were able to have those bags for activities for them.
And last but not least, a sense of humor was probably a good thing to have because once arriving in St. Lucia my bag containing many items for the wedding and all of my outfits for the week was nowhere to be seen. We did get it back 4 days later but still, that was no fun.
St. Lucia was amazing but, I sincerely hope the next time we travel to St. Lucia we have a much more pleasant experience in getting there.